Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some Art Deco Gems

Well, today we'll go back in time a bit from yesterday's posting and take a look at some of Chicago's art deco heritage. Our first example is from Edgewater Beach, which, unfortunately, didn't photograph well, due to the quite large trees out front. In front, however, you can see the unique reverse arched windows, which I have never seen before in this vintage in Chicago. To the left, the building next door also has a deco flavor, albeit one inspired by prairie and gothic verticality.
Our next example is from the gold coast, and represents what I see as more of a typical - even traditional deco (really more modern, due to lack of ornamentation) townhouse form but in a three-flat. Interestingly, it mimics in scale the older house to the right, which indicates that it might have been a remodel - a dreaded facadectomy even. But a full renovation is more likely. Here we have a rather interesting small apartment building from Lake View. This one is quite ornamented, with a rather unique rusticated stone trim, but at the base and the two center columns. This is paired against the sleek silver metal and glass block entry and the horizontally divided lites in the windows. If you were to peek around the side you would see metal casements along the sides and rear of the building as well. Our last two examples are in Rogers Park - West Rogers Park (or West Ridge if you prefer) along the "Farwell Corridor" as I've dubbed it. I've called it this because of the fine examples of large and grand apartment buildings there. These two large six-flats have wonderful decoation on their blond and yellow-blonde facades. The second one, in particual, has wonderful stonework with a florid deco influence. The interior of this building also, apparently, features much Hollywood Deco inspired detailing, such as doorways and plasterwork.

Even though Chicago really isn't a deco stronghold, we do have some nice, very nice in fact, examples, even among our vernacular housing stock.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Some Midcentury Fun

Some mid-century fun for the mid week. Here are some of our more mid-century kitsch buildings.
First off we have the fantastic "murals" at.... the home of the eternal flame... home of the stained glass (ala Brady Residence stairs) graced mail rooms..... Chinese Village shod courtyard.... yes, oh yes. Why, of course it is, it's...Imperial Towers. These two shots only show some of it's charm(s). Not to mention the incredible "I Dream of Jeannie" style worm wood paneling and kitchen screens which original condition units still have.
Next we have a canopy (one of a series) at Sandburg Village, which shows some of it's age with it's butterfly construction, as well as some corrosion staining....
And lastly, a nearly matching canopy with sculpture at 555 W. Cornelia. More on this building and it's ilk in the future, I should think, since I have some theories about it's design, in relation to other buildings here and a possible antecedent to these. The precedent will be a lot of fun once I get it posted, I promise.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cambridge, Mass

Well, as you can see, I've just be off gallivanting across the eastern seaboard with a little jaunt to the Boston area, which is both rife with vernacular apartment buildings and rich with very interesting, and elegant, examples as well.

Here we have the first entry in the series, with an example from Cambridge, Massachusetts (home of, well, you know what University). The Boston area is known especially for it's "Triple Deckers" aka a three-flat in our parlance. However, in this case it is a masonry building with grand pretensions, with yellow brick and limestone on the street elevation and red brick on the sides - none of our Chicago common brick here, one notices. It also sports a massive copper cornice and features copper bays on the opposite side from the courtyard.

Interestingly, I noticed few masonry three story apartment buildings, but many four and five story buildings - all in masonry, of course. As an aside, one can go much taller with wood frame construction, but that side note wasn't the case in the 19th Century with it's fire regulations (which often keep to much the same rules and regulations today). In this case we have five stories, with what appear to be many small flats within.

The building, this building in particular was alone, has similarities to buildings along the street as well as to similar sized buildings in central Boston as well. We also have rich beaux-arts detailing around the entry and in the previously mentioned cornice.

Nicely for the observer, the building to the right has been demolished, allowing a side view of the "courtyard" with it's bay window and fire escape. The windows of which have been nicely trimmed in limestone sills and heads.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Update

At long last, dear readers, an update to my blog. This blog has too long neglected, and I have a treasure trove of photos to post for you.

We'll start off the rains at the end of the drought with an April Shower from the almost Gold Coast, a rather unique four story building, which once was, perhaps a luxurious row house.

It has a lovely gold brick facade with a bay window on the middle two floors and a side entry, along with Roman arched windows at the first floor and a stone base and nicely detailed brickwork, simply defining the building.